Ace Your Job Interview With This One Last Question

Leaving on a high note

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I thought it would be fun to spice your thoughts with a question that has worked for me and yet, I have hardly come across it in all the digital and paper ink on interview questions.

Last part of an interview in a nutshell

You just heard from your interviewer, “Any questions for me?” There is a list of within the box questions you are likely to ask. They usually fall into one of the categories -fit(culture), scope, context (history of position, problem to solve) and timeline for decision. After you hear the answers, you usually leave expressing your passion for the job in the best possible way you are comfortable articulating. That is the usual drill I have seen as part of the interview structure.

The Spark

The interviews are centered on each side knowing more about the other. If information is presented as 4 quadrants like a Johari Window below, each side enters an interview to reduce their own blind spots (i.e.) move the green window panes in such a way to increase common awareness and reduce their own blind spots.

What is a good question that reduces your (candidate’s) blind spot? It could be the standard questions. Or it could also be a question on the most important question you could have asked but did not know enough to ask. In other words,

Is there a question I should have asked that I did not ask?

For example, I had asked this question at the wag end of my interview for a sales management position. While interviewing, I was in a data analytics role. I had arrived at this question based on analytical logic about blind spots. The hiring national head of sales smiled and added, “I do not know how you arrived at this question, I like it.” He thought about it and went ahead and shared a question and his answer. The answer was something that was immensely useful for me during my job. The question he shared, expanded my horizons in the long term.

When it works & does not work

A matchstick outside the match box is great for creating a spark but not really in the hands of a child. Similarly, this is not a question to ask by an ill-prepared candidate. Just like how the stakes get higher if the last match is taken out from a box, this is not the only question to ask by a candidate.

Would it be a good question, among the other questions to ask by the candidate? My answer, based on my experience, is yes. It showcases the open mindedness of the candidate with a tinge of respect for what they do not know. It provides an opportunity to get the most vital information as seen from the perspective of the interviewer.

Parting Thoughts

If knowledge and perception are two ends of the spectrum, would it not be great to gather the knowledge of other people’s perception? In that sense, I find this one question on questions an ace in my quiver. Hope it is in yours as well now. 

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